MVES piloting student swim program

The Alabaster YMCA, which uses an inflatable dome to cover the pool during the winter, will teach all Alabaster second-graders to swim starting with MVES. (File)

The Alabaster YMCA, which uses an inflatable dome to cover the pool during the winter, will teach all Alabaster second-graders to swim starting with MVES. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Second graders at Meadow View Elementary School are preparing to hit the city’s YMCA pool to learn how to swim over the next few weeks. But many students needed a guarantee from the school’s principal before agreeing to take the dip.

“The children have already asked me ‘Mrs. Simms, are you going to swim with us?’ Yes, I am,” MVES Principal Rachea Simms said with a laugh as she spoke to parents during the school’s second-grade parents night on Aug. 14.

As the result of a 2013 Leadership Shelby County project, the Alabaster YMCA will provide swim lessons to every Alabaster second-grader starting with the current school year. Through the program, groups of students will travel to the Alabaster YMCA Monday through Friday for 30 minutes of water instruction and 30 minutes of land instruction per day, Alabaster YMCA Executive Director Rhonda Elmore said.

“This comes at no cost to parents. It’s a free community service program,” Elmore said, noting transportation costs also are covered through the partnership. “I was part of Leadership last year, and this is something I really wanted to bring to ACS.”

Simms said MVES second graders will be the first to go through the swim program.

“Meadow View is going to pilot it first. Kids will start going through the program in October, and we will wrap up in December,” Simms said. “We are truly excited to partner with the YMCA on this.”

Elmore said the partnership will be worth it if it keeps even one child safe in the future.

“Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under 14,” Elmore said. “If it saves even one life, you can’t put a dollar amount on that.”